Archive | May, 2009

Bean Salad

28 May

Hello!

Speaking of main dish salads… here comes another one.

beansaladcloseup

A simple bean salad, with garlic, rosemary, parsley, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and parmesan. Kind of mediterranean, no? In any case, tasty. I used canned beans (this was kind of a last minute dinner); if you don’t like those, use dried ones. Soak them in water over night, and cook them the next day. Here we go:

Ingredients:
serves 3-4

2 small cans white beans, e.g. fava beans (I forget the net weight; I’d say approx. 1 1/2 pounds, when drained)

big handful of sundried tomatoes
4 tbsps. white balsamico vinegar
6 tbsps. olive oil
1 big garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary, ground
salt, pepper to taste
2 big handfuls of parsley leaves, chopped

4 tbsps. pine nuts

4 tbsps. parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

Drain the beans in a sieve.

Cut the tomatoes into strips, put into a small bowl, and cover with warm water for about 10 mins. Take out and drain.

Combine vinegar, oil, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and tomatoes; season with salt and pepper.

Roast the pine nuts in a hot pan until they turn light brown, and add to the dressing.

In a large bowl, combine beans and dressing. Finally, sprinkle with parmesan. Serve with bread. Enjoy!

beansalad

Easy, right? But so good… Naturally, this salad only gets better if you let it ‘marinate’ for a while.

Other than main dish salads, this is what my diet mainly consists of these days:

watermelon

Watermelon with fresh mint leaves. I cannot get enough of that.

xoxo, F.

Also…

25 May

Deformed food, part 2: weirdly shaped strawberries.

deformedstrawberries1

I love how they look like little mountain peaks.

Pasta Salad with Arugula and Smoked Trout

25 May

Hello there!

Where we are, it has been very warm over the weekend and today. When it is hot I tend to not really cook dinner, but rather prepare main dish salads: potato salad, bean salad, egg salad,… and last night: this pasta salad.

pastasaladplate

Easy to prepare, and makes great leftovers! Plus, the salad does not contain mayonaise (which I am not the biggest fan of); the dressing is prepared with yogurt and lemon juice. So it’s not too heavy, either, but still filling.

Ingredients:
serves 4

approx. 10 oz. pasta; I used fettucine
2 eggs

2 big handfuls arugula
2 tbsps. fresh chives, snipped

8 tbsps. plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 tsp. horseradish (from a glass)
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
salt, pepper, sugar, to taste

2 medium trout filets, smoked

Directions:

Cook and drain the pasta. Boil the eggs until hard, approx. 8 mins. Peel the eggs, and cut into slices.

Combine yogurt, milk, whipped cream, and horseradish; mix well. Add chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir; season with salt, pepper, and sugar.

In a large bowl, carefully mix pasta, eggs, arugula, chives, and dressing. Cut or pluck the fish into pieces, and add. Enjoy!

pastasalad

I prepared ours right before we ate it, so it was still a little warm, which I liked. But I am sure that this can be prepared ahead of time as well; simply let the salad cool and put it into the fridge until serving.

xoxo, F.

Almond Muffins

22 May

Good evening!

sfmuffinsdonebow

This is my attempt at a ‘healthy’ muffin. No sugar, no butter! Whole-wheat flour! Maybe next time I’ll cut the eggs, too. The thing is: I bake a lot. Which means: we eat a lot of baked goods. Which is awesome. But every once in a while I simply feel better when I reduce my intake of fat and sugar a little… I have used agave syrup in pies before, but never in batter. I was skeptical – but it turned out ok. These muffins are not as fluffy and spongy as your usual ones; instead, they are rather moist and dense. I think they would go well with bananas, or maple syrup? We ate ours plain, and I cannot complain, either. Here we go:

Ingredients:
makes 12

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almonds, finely ground

2 eggs
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla

sfmuffinsprep

Directions:

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and almonds.
In a second bowl, mix the eggs with agave syrup, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

sfmuffinsbatter

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mix.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Line your cupcake pan with paper liners; scoop out the batter.

sfmuffinspan

Bake for approx. 20 mins., until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

xoxo, F.

Naan Bread

22 May

Hello my dear readers!

First of all, check out this GIANT lemon:

giantlemon

I just had to buy it. I have a soft spot for deformed food.

But anyways, I made these naan breads the other night. Although I have to admit, hands down, that they were not as perfect as at your favorite Indian restaurant, I thought they were pretty good. And they made a nice addition to the lentils and yogurt we ate them with.

naandone

Ingredients:
makes 6

4 tbsp. plain yogurt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup milk, lukewarm

1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. black mustard seeds

Directions:

Whisk the egg, salt, sugar, baking powder, yeast, oil, yogurt and 5 tbsp. milk all together in one bowl.
Pour this fluid mixture into the flour.

naandoughmix

Stir a little, so that some flour falls into the yeast mix, and a dough starts to form. Adding the rest of the milk, knead it all into a nice, smooth dough. Cover (with a tea towel) and let rise for 30 mins.

After it has had its nap, quickly and shortly knead the dough again, and split it into six equal parts. Form these into balls, and then roll them into longish breads, approx. 1/2 inch thick.

naanrollout

Transfer them on a parchment-lined cookie rack. Again, let them sit and rise for another 15 mins.

Preheat your oven to 450° F. (top heat or grill)
Brush the breads with water, prick them a couple of times with a fork, and sprinkle them with the seeds.

naanbeforebaking

Bake the breads (my rack held three at a time) on the highest rail in your oven, closest to the heat, for about 5 mins., then turn them over and give them another 3 mins. Watch them closely! I almost burned the first three. Enjoy while still hot.

Strawberry Layer Cake

16 May

Good afternoon!

It is Saturday, the sun is shining. I am in the mood for cake! So I make one – this simple, yummy layer cake with fresh strawberries.

tortecloseup

I saw a picture a cake like this last week, in a magazine. It didn’t include a recipe, but I thought: “If I were to make this, I would bake a simple sponge cake, cut it, and fill it with strawberries and whipped cream.” Which is basically what I did – and it turned out really well. Here we go:

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sparkling water (or milk)
pinch of salt

1 pound fresh strawberries
3/4 cup whipped cream, very stiff
3/4 cup quark cheese
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, the sugar, and the butter. Whisk into a thick, yellow cream, until the sugar has dissolved.
In a second bowl, mix the flour, the starch, and the baking powder.
In a third bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until very stiff.
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Stir the flour mix into the yolk mix; then add the sparkling water. Lastly, add egg whites, stirring slowly. This should result in a nice, homogeneous batter. Pour into a (round) cake pan, and bake for about 30 mins., until the cake turns light brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool.

cake

In the meantime, wash and slice the strawberries. Yummy! I have to admit I ate a few right away.

strawberries

Mix the quark, the whipped cream, the lemon juice, and the sugar (add some more sugar if you don’t find it sweet enought).
Now comes the tricky part: slice the cake, vertically. Slice it once, if you want to play it safe, or twice, if you like to take a risk. I attempted a three layer cake, so I cut it twice. And I have to admit I did mess it up a little, but the good part is: no one can tell once the cream mix and the strawberries are on top.
Finally, you guessed it, build your cake, in layers. Keep in a cool place until serving. Truly yummy!

Apple Pie

14 May

Good evening!

piedone

It’s been a while. Time flies… Anyways, I made this beautiful apple pie tonight, because we had these apples lying around. They were not very good – kind of mealy, stale. Usually I make pancakes with whatever fruit I have to use up, but since it has been rainy today and colder, I was in the mood for comfort food.
This is a classic recipe (thanks are due to Martha Stewart – who else?), and it is very easy. Not to mention delicious!

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup very cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
3 pounds apples
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Two things I should mention: I think the original recipe calls for an additional 1/2 tsp. nutmeg in the filling. I am not the biggest nutmeg fan, so I usually leave it out. What I also tend to not do is brush the pie with egg wash before baking; I usually use water (this time: apple juice).

Directions:

For the crust, combine flour and salt in a bowl, and add the butter. Then add half of the water and start kneading. Slowly add the rest of the water, one spoonful at a time. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Form into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and put into your fridge for at least 30 mins.

crustdough

In the meantime, peel and core the apples, and cut them into cubes (or slices). In a bowl, mix the apple pieces with lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

cinnamonapples

Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Then take the dough out of the fridge, and cut it in half. Roll out one half (to a ca. 12 inch-round), transfer into your pie plate (9 inch). Fill with the apple mix. Roll out the remaining dough, and cut some ‘vents;’ I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place on top of the apples; pressing gently, seal together the bottom piece of dough with the top (crimp the edge the way you like it; I kind of tuck it under). Brush with apple juice, and sprinkle with sugar (both lightly).

pieprep

Bake for about 60 mins., until the crust is light brown, and the inside is bubbling. Let the pie cool for a while before serving. We ate ours with vanilla ice cream. It was heavenly! Really good. What kind of pie do you like?

piepiece